Victoria Ordu (left) and Ihuoma Amadi say they stopped working at Walmart as soon as they learned it was against the rules of their student visas. (CBC)

A protest to help two University of Regina students who say they're are facing deportation for working part-time at Wal-Mart has moved to Ottawa.

On Monday, a small group of people were at Parliament Hill trying to raise awareness about Victoria Ordu and Ihuoma Amadi, students from Nigeria who've taken sanctuary in a Regina church for several weeks because they're afraid they'll be deported.


A handful of protesters were at Parliament Hill in Ottawa Monday, calling for leniency in the case of Victoria Ordu and Ihuoma Amadi. Valerie Boyer/CBC

The women, who have been studying at the U of R for three years, have student visas that allow them to work, but only on campus.

They claim they did not know of the restriction and worked for a time at a Wal-Mart store, but stopped as soon as they learned of the rules.

They're hoping the minister of immigration will let them stay and finish their studies.

The University of Regina has come out in the women's corner, saying the penalty they're facing is out of proportion to the offence.

Saskatchewan Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, who was at the Ottawa rally Monday, also says the punishment does not fit the crime.

"They technically broke a rule. It appears to be an honest mistake," Goodale said. "As soon as they became aware of that, they corrected the situation. Now what is the appropriate sanction. Is it throwing them out of the country and in effect cancelling their education?"

 Bill Boyd, Saskatchewan Minister of the Economy, is now inquiring about the status of the two students.

"This matter was brought to my attention in June of this year and I have been monitoring the situation closely," Boyd said in a letter sent to Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews.

"The Government of Saskatchewan understands that this is a federal matter but if you could update us on the status of this case and any next steps we would welcome any response from your office on this matter."